Marcus Chan - Define American

Marcus Chan

Hayward, CA

I was born and raised in the Bay Area all my life, my first experience of being “American” began back in 7th grade. All of it stemmed from my lacking inability to ask for help in Cantonese, my mother didn’t take kindly to this and called me out. “You’re Chinese! Act like it!” This left me bewildered, and I instinctively snapped back with, “I’m Chinese-American! I was born here in the U.S.!” And that was the end of it, we stopped talking to each other for the rest of the night and forgot we even had this talk. But looking back at that moment in time, at the words that I had said. What did it really mean to be “Chinese-American” or let alone, just “American”? What I’ve came up with so far since then with all the people that I’ve met, it doesn’t just stop at the place of your birth. Being American includes the bringing your slice of life (e.g. culture, tradition, beliefs) into the melting potluck of life here in the U.S. As well as uniting and acknowledging each other for that.

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